Project SPIRIT student at Maxfield Elementary smiles proudly showing her artwork from class.
Annual Report Letter
By Randi Ilyse Roth
It’s hard to follow the news these days without asking what is going wrong in this world. Even more difficult is figuring out how we should respond. In a piece called, “Trying to Hold onto Hope,” Donald Gault points us to helpful passages from the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
[Dr. King] said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” As we decide together how to respond to the horrors of the past week, weeks, months and years, I believe that the title of Dr. King’s final book poses the question quite clearly: Where Do We Go From Here, Chaos or Community?
Here at Interfaith Action, we choose community.
In 2015, we concluded work begun in 2013 to lay the groundwork to shed more light and sow more love. Our board completed an in-depth strategic planning process that produced several game-changing results. First, we opened membership in our organization to people and congregations from all faiths. Second, we narrowed our focus to work that supports opportunity, hope, and respect built on understanding. We articulated this organizational vision: People of faith will relieve the effects of poverty and address its causes through the transformative work of thousands of volunteers. Finally, we unveiled the new name we adopted to reflect these core decisions: Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul.
Interfaith Action’s work is a portion of what our community needs as an antidote to darkness and hate:
- Project Home and Going Home provide shelter, community, warmth, support, dignity, and an infusion of learning to families experiencing homelessness.
- Project SPIRIT’s intensive, high-dosage, culturally-specific after-school experience for African-American children in four different K-5 Saint Paul public schools greatly enriches the lives of the children and families it serves.
- Department of Indian Work’s emergency services, diabetes prevention and management programs, and culturally-specific after-school program meet critical needs at critical times in a way that promotes choice, dignity, learning, and health.
And we have additional touchpoints in the community through other programs: our Farm-Faith Project, Interfaith Youth Connection, and more. And soon we’ll be adding even more compelling learning and volunteer work through the Infrastructure of Opportunity framework.
This annual report gives you some statistics about our reach, and some information about our finances. The main message of this report, though, is that we can’t think of anything more important to be doing in this world right now than shedding light and sowing love.
Randi Ilyse Roth